Behind the scenes: Security at Van Andel Arena

DK Security event staff receiving guests in front of Van Andel Arena

Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids’ largest entertainment venue, is bracing for a busy season of events with the return of Griffins hockey and new arrivals Grand Rapids Gold of the NBA G-League. As the Grand Rapids Business Journal recently described it, though, “that’s pretty much normal.”

Updated December 7, 2022


DK Security was recognized by GRBJ alongside various Van Andel Arena (VAA) staff teams as a component to smooth facility operations, even during the busiest of times. For Director of Operations Joe Budnik, however, it’s business as usual. “We’re already experienced and have adapted well to the G-League crowd,” he says about the introduction of minor league basketball to VAA.

The Gold (formerly the Grand Rapids Drive), who previously competed at the Deltaplex in Walker, moved into their new home for the 2022-2023 season and have transitioned smoothly to life downtown. "The staff at Van Andel has been top notch, from users and security to the people working on the changeovers from ice to basketball court," relays GRBJ from an interview with Gold President Steve Jbara.

According to GRBJ, the relationship between the NBA G-League and Van Andel has been off to a great start, “thanks to the work of hundreds of local stage crew, security and backstage staff.”

VAA juggles an ice sheet for the Grand Rapids Griffins, a basketball court for the Gold, and a solid floor for concerts and other events. “Communication is vital,” says Budnik about running a successful event. Coordination with arena partners and placing seasoned staff at key locations are crucial for hosting any event – big or small.

“We’re efficient at getting people through security,” adds operations manager and former VAA security supervisor Gabe Yondo. DK Security’s partnership with Van Andel began over 25 years ago, and we’ve established a quality and experienced team during that time.

Our post-event evaluations validate our high level of service, too. DK regularly receives top marks from visiting tour managers and security personnel; we’re known for hospitality, communication, highly trained staff, and level-headed problem solving in any situation.

At the end of the day, it’s about the fans. The Gold’s first home game tipped off on November 10th, and their presence is a perfect opportunity for DK to participate further in Grand Rapids’ diverse sporting community. Budnik relayed the excitement of the staff in receiving basketball at our longtime partner’s venue: “It’s an honor to have it at VAA.”

Read more about Van Andel Arena’s various crucial “behind the scenes” operational teams here.


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